If your long-distance or local move date is approaching, you and your family are probably packing everything you need to bring to your new home. As you prepare for your relocation, it’s important to remember that professional movers don’t accept every type of item. If you pack something especially valuable or that can be dangerous in a collision, your moving company might refuse your shipment.

Thankfully, there are only a few items movers refuse to move. Familiarize yourself with some of the most common things local and long-distance movers won’t move to ensure a hassle-free and safe moving day.

What Do Moving Companies Move?

Moving companies can transport almost every household object. Some of the most common items movers handle include the following:

  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Files and large boxes of paperwork
  • Furniture
  • Musical instruments
  • Small and major appliances

Most people hire a professional moving company to move things that are a hassle to relocate without help. If you live in a larger home and don’t yet know what you have to move, rest assured that local and cross-country movers will be able to transport almost all of your belongings.

Why Don’t Moving Companies Move Certain Items?

Many things movers refuse to carry are flammable and would present a safety hazard to the moving team in a collision. For example, scuba tanks are filled with highly pressurized air, which may explode if mishandled. Movers similarly won’t handle oxygen tanks, solvents, acids, and some household cleaning supplies.

Not every item that movers will not move presents a safety hazard. Movers will not move perishable items, including frozen foods, because they do not want to risk the items damaging your shipment. Moving some houseplants can conflict with the National Plant Board’s recommendations, so most moving companies will also refuse to move live plants.

Moving companies have the final call on whether they will or won’t move an item, which leaves a bit of a gray area regarding what you can’t pack. For example, while it is not against the law to transport an unloaded firearm across state lines, some movers still refuse to move these items because they do not want to risk an injury. Ask your moving company for more information on specific items they will not move.

Finally, you should plan to keep any valuables or items with sentimental value with you when you move. Moving companies do not want to be responsible for high-value items being damaged in accidents. They typically require that you take important documents with you when going to your new home. Separate family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, medical records, photo albums, and other important items before moving.

What Common Household Items Are Excluded?

The following are some everyday items that your movers might refuse to pack in your moving truck. Planning alternatives for the following items before moving day is best to avoid loading delays. 

Hazardous Materials

Movers will refuse to transport any hazardous items that could lead to team members getting hurt. For example, aerosol cans may explode when exposed to fire, potentially turning a fender bender into a deadly situation. This is why moving companies will not transport items contained under high pressure, such as spray paint or fire extinguishers.

Further, anything likely to cause a fire in the event of a move will usually not be able to travel in your moving van or truck. Even everyday household items, such as nail polish remover and paint thinners, are flammable, so plan to dispose of them or take them with you.

Each moving company has its own list of items it will not move, and the items considered hazardous might vary between providers. For example, although many moving companies require you to toss cleaning products before loading your shipment, some movers may be willing to transport these items if they don’t contain harsh chemicals.

Ask your moving company for a complete list of dangerous items you cannot move. This will speed up the moving process and ensure you and your moving team are safe.


Moving companies may refuse to move live plants. Pests can easily attach to houseplants and move along with you unnoticed. This means that houseplants have the potential to bring local pests to different states during an interstate move, which can be harmful to the environment.

Further, some gardeners use specialized weed killers and fertilizers containing nitrogen. If spilled, these materials can cause corrosive damage to the moving van, so most moving companies will not accept them. This is the same reason even the best moving companies won’t move cleaning products such as bleach or ammonia.

While moving a potted plant is unlikely to cause an ecological disaster or moving injury, most moving companies prefer to avoid the risk. If you have any house plants, pesticides, or other organic matter that you can’t leave behind, take it with you in your car when you move.

Perishable Foods

Moving companies will not move perishable food items because they cannot keephave no way of keeping the food cold during transportation. This means that your frozen chicken and milk are unlikely to be safe for consumption when your shipment makes it to your new home. Rather than risk someone getting sick, moving companies will only agree to move non-perishable food items that can safely remain in a truck for days on end.


If you’ve ever moved in the past, you probably already know that moves can take a long time and get rough. While the best moving companies can arrange pet transportation services on your behalf, most moving companies do not have the necessary facilities to move pets.

What Other Things Won’t Moving Companies Move?

Other items that your moving company might refuse to move include the following:

  • Antiques
  • Fireworks
  • Gardening tools and lawn mowers without emptied tanks
  • Grill and barbeque supplies and tools
  • High-value items
  • Lighter fluid and motor oil
  • Liquor, wine, and beer

Your movers can provide you with a complete list of hazardous or dangerous items they won’t move.

Alternatives for Moving Prohibited Items

If you have a few items that your movers won’t take, you have plenty of options for getting rid of them before your move. Perishable food items are not worth moving when you consider the valuable moving van space they take up—consider donating to a local food bank so it doesn’t go to waste. Further, local homeless and domestic violence shelters are always looking for unopened, non-perishable cleaning supplies.

Avoid moving items that could be dangerous if you’re involved in an accident on the road, such as lighter fluid or propane tanks. Dispose of these materials and any electronic waste, including car batteries and old cell phones, at your local hazardous waste facility.

For other items that you cannot afford to leave behind but your movers will not move, make sure to bring them with you on moving day.

Our Conclusion

Most moving companies can transport your most essential belongings, such as your furniture, electronics, clothing, appliances, and more. However, they can refuse to move certain items that pose safety risks, such as pressurized canisters, flammable materials, corrosive liquids (including bleach and ammonia), plants, animals, and more.

The best way to know what your moving company won’t move is to ask before you book. That way, you’ll have ample time to arrange alternate transportation for these items, dispose of them, or donate them to local charities.

FAQs About Things Moving Companies Won’t Move

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We conduct research by reading through the company websites, analyzing customer reviews, conducting consumer surveys, requesting quotes, and speaking with customer representatives. We then score each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling, trailer and container options, additional benefits, and reputation to arrive at a final score out of 100.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.